U.S. State Dep’t to American flotilla passengers: Drop dead

The State Department has issued a new travel advisory for Gaza warning Americans not to go there by sea because Israel might try and kill them. With impunity.

Three dozen Americans are now preparing to travel to Gaza by sea on the flotilla. But the State Department warning says:


The security environment within Gaza, including its border with Egypt and its seacoast, is dangerous and volatile. U.S. citizens are advised against traveling to Gaza by any means, including via sea. Previous attempts to enter Gaza by sea have been stopped by Israeli naval vessels and resulted in the injury, death, arrest, and deportation of U.S. citizens. U.S. citizens participating in any effort to reach Gaza by sea should understand that they may face arrest, prosecution, and deportation by the Government of Israel… On May 31, 2010, nine people were killed, including one U.S. citizen, in such an attempt.

That U.S. citizen was of course Furkan Doğan, a 19 year old permanent resident of Turkey who witnesses said was shot repeatedly as he attempted to photograph the commandos on the Mavi Marmara.

Ali Gharib says, “if you try to travel to Gaza, Israel might kill you.” And: 

During his recent visit to Washington, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remarked that “America has no better friend than Israel.” As Matthew Yglesias pointed out , the statement is “absurd.” This seems borne out by a travel warning that tells citizens not to try to get to Gaza by sea so that they don’t risk getting shot by their country’s “best friend.”

Oh and here’s Tablet echoing the State Department: “Supporters of the blockade should be untroubled by the prospect of Israel enforcing it with precision and compassion.” Huh? 

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 43 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. krincaz says:

    Despicable. I am so ashamed.

    • MRW says:

      My sentiment exactly, krincaz. And I’m ashamed that I feel so impotent in the face of this barbarity, that nothing I can do or say can change anything. If there are deaths this time, the reaction is not going to be like the last time, with it swept under the table. I can’t predict what the reaction will be, but Israel doesn’t get to kill people with impunity for doing things it doesn’t like outside its so-called border. And a State Dept warning (and approval of murder) does not supersede the rights of Americans under the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

  2. dbroncos says:

    44 years on, USS Liberty crew members are still waiting for Israel’s boot licking servants in congress to investigate the reasons for Israel’s surprise attack on that U.S. Navy ship. Lesson learned by State Dept.: Warn American citizens in advance that there will be no safety net for Americans sailing in international waters and no investigations in the event of more dead Americans at the hands if Israelis. How low can they go?

    • Shingo says:

      How low can they go?

      America is falling apart and in rapid decline. They are no longer trying to hide it.

    • Daniel Rich says:

      Hi dbroncos,

      16086 days have passed since the US Congress has not investigated the deliberate attack on the USS Liberty by Israel. Thank you, Generalfeldmarschall McCain Sr.

  3. Jim Holstun says:

    Look at the slimy language: “Previous attempts to enter Gaza . . . resulted in the . . . death . . . of U.S. citizens.” Oh, really? I thought it was the bullet fired into Furgan Dogan’s face that resulted in his death. It’s nice to know the truth: he was responsible for his own death by trying to enter Gaza. Live and learn.

  4. Shingo says:

    Maybe the US State Department might want to give Al Qaeda a pass for the bombing of the USS Cole (seeing as it was in Yemen), forgive Hezbollah for the bombing of the US marine Barracks in Lebanon, and forgive all the deaths of Americans in Afghanistan and Iraq, security environment within Israen and Afghanistan is dangerous and volatile.

    What spinelss, hypocritical and pathetic shmucks.

  5. tree says:

    I notice Tablet seems intent on blasting Alice Walker as well. I don’t know how they came up with this…

    But there is something fishy about her essay that betrays her stated cause of universalism (“One child must never be set above another”). It begins when she weirdly isolates Schwerner and Goodman, the two young civil rights martyrs who happened to be Jews, from Cheney, who was black, …

    from this, in Alice Walker’s Why I’m Sailing to Gaza:

    Alongside this image of brave followers of Gandhi there is for me an awareness of paying off a debt to the Jewish civil rights activists who faced death to come to the side of black people in the South in our time of need. I am especially indebted to Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman who heard our calls for help – our government then as now glacially slow in providing protection to non-violent protestors-and came to stand with us.

    They got as far as the truncheons and bullets of a few “good ol’ boys’” of Neshoba County, Mississippi and were beaten and shot to death along with James Cheney, a young black man of formidable courage who died with them. So, even though our boat will be called The Audacity of Hope, it will fly the Goodman, Cheney, Schwerner flag in my own heart.

    Goodman and Schwerner came from NYC. Chaney was born and bred in Meridien, Mississippi, where he died. Other than pointing out that G & S came from outside the South to help out, where the hell is Walker “weirdly” isolating them from Chaney, who was a Southern native? Anyone got a rational answer to that one?

    Ok, I know that asking for a rational reason for an attack that does not stem from a position of rationality is probably pointless, but WTF?

    • ToivoS says:

      Tree good catch. Walker’s entire statement is quite clear. But we are dealing with Zionist propagandist here — they will lie, distort, dissemble, obfuscate and engage in any other rhetorical distortion to push their efforts to delegitimize those who support justice for the Palestinians.

  6. Henry Norr says:

    Gee, State Department, thanks so much for that helpful info and advice. I’m up early here in Athens, but once my fellow passengers on The Audacity of Hope are up and about, I’ll definitely let them know how you feel, and I’m sure we’ll all be reconsidering our plans – not…

  7. ToivoS says:

    At least the State Department is acknowledging that a US citizen was killed by the Israelis the last time. Isn’t that progress?

    The people on those ships must realize that they are putting their lives in danger. As someone sitting on the sidelines I cannot encourage them to do so, but it they do then we should support them in any way we can.

    I find this whole story unbelievable. It is hard to imagine our DoS being so insensitive to the lives of Americans. Couldn’t they at least warn the Israelis to be cautious and that a repeat performance might harm Israeli American relations? Has the Lobby so thoroughly infected our government that we can say nothing? This cannot last.

  8. if they do a repeat of last time, it will be from orders on high. the thing i cannot get is how that makes any sense politically. israel can still act like a “mad dog” with relative impunity, but to come down on high profile unarmed peace activists seems like more than a “mad dog” image set up by the right… it seems like an actual “mad dog”.

    granted we know how mad israel is, but usually it seems towards provoking palestinian resistance, so they can get even madder. or picking off occasional westerners and media types, knowing the MSM and USGov will ignore it.

    the only political calculation i can guess is that yahoo would like another rally of the grossly right wing public, like happened after the marvi marmara. of course that is a meaningless short term domestic *bump*, while the real world fallout will be immense (again). anyone get the feeling that in time, israel might want so much isolation and arab resistance, they can use it as a thin cover for a 3rd nakba, and the full transformation to democratic fascism? i know the fringe wants it…. but might we see it down the line?

    • Daniel Rich says:

      Hi anonymouscomments,

      Q: …but to come down on high profile unarmed peace activists seems like more than a “mad dog” image set up by the right… it seems like an actual “mad dog”.

      R: I can’t say the following with absolute certainty, but…

      It looks like it is Israel’s intention to scare away any and all peace-activists or anyone else who tries to shield the Palestinian population from all forms of violence. It is very simple: how many people [outsiders] are willing to knowingly die for a cause? It is my guess that Israel banks on playing the scare/fear card in the hope that ‘foreigners’ stay where they are, because, given all the atrocities that have taken place over time, nobody has the guts to hold Israel accountable for its heinous crimes against humanity.

  9. American says:

    Hump!

    What was it the Jewish him or her said about his/her grandmother not being murdered by the Nazis so the Israelis could murder Palestine grandmothers?

    Well, my great and great great grandfathers didn’t fight in the Revoltuion and the Civil War so this country could be turned over to a cult of zionist psychopaths and scum sucking politicians.

    I am declaring my own war.
    Burn Washington to the Ground and Start Over.

    • RoHa says:

      Gerald Kaufman in Parliament:

      “My grandmother was ill in bed when the Nazis came to her home town. A German soldier shot her dead in her bed. My grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israeli soldiers murdering Palestinian grandmothers in Gaza.”

      link to en.wikipedia.org

    • stevieb says:

      “Burn Washington to the Ground and Start Over.”

      For me, that’s 90% certain the only way.

      Or you need a Justice Department willing to prosecute for crimes against the Constitution and crimes of International Law.

      That way people like Obama and Bush would be in jail where they belong…

  10. John Caruso writes about Ray McGovern’s (who will be on a boat) comments on the Flotilla :

    I also have been cautioned by a source with access to very senior staffers at the National Security Council that not only does the White House plan to do absolutely nothing to protect our boat from Israeli attack or illegal boarding, but that White House officials “would be happy if something happened to us.” They are, I am reliably told, “perfectly willing to have the cold corpses of activists shown on American TV.”

    I have no doubt the sentiment McGovern describes proceeds from “very senior staffers at the National Security Council” right up to Mr. Hopenchange himself. When it comes to killing, Obama goes at it with dispassionate enthusiasm and business-like efficiency; it’s as though we did finally end up with Michael Corleone in the White House.

    link to distantocean.com
    In a way, it makes sense. The people on the Flotilla do not reflect the views and convictions of those who are in power in Washington, and therefore they should not expect Obama or anyone else there to watch over, protect them or express outrage if any of them are injured or killed simply because they are American citizens (protecting American citizens is not their real job).
    I’m sure most of them knew already that they were on their own.

  11. GuiltyFeat says:

    There’s an interesting piece in today’s Irish Examiner addressing the Irish contingent of the new flotilla. Not sure if I agree with it entirely.

    link to irishexaminer.com

    • Sumud says:

      Guilty Feat ~ your petticoat’s showing. longliveisrael has already linked to that piece in the Irish Examiner.

    • Shmuel says:

      There’s an interesting piece … Not sure if I agree with it entirely.

      But you agree with the gist of it, or you wouldn’t have posted it. I presume you know the way to Jerry Haber’s “Singling Israel out for Moral Opprobrium” by now.

      • GuiltyFeat says:

        No. I disagree with large parts of it, but I think it shows that there is not the consensus about the blockade in Europe that others at MW would have us believe.

        • Shmuel says:

          I disagree with large parts of it, but I think it shows that there is not the consensus about the blockade in Europe that others at MW would have us believe.

          The gist of the article is that the flotilla unjustly singles Israel out. If I am not mistaken, you have expressed similar views here before. As for the European fantasies entertained by many Mondoweissers, you’re wasting your time. They categorically refuse to be disabused of the notion that Europe is an oasis of sanity and integrity.

        • GuiltyFeat says:

          My objection to the flotilla is not that it singles Israel out, but that it delegitimizes the campaign to relieve the suffering of the Palestinians, by preferring to “expose” Israel’s hypocrisies.

          Sailing towards Gaza while refusing to release a comment on the treatment of Gazan women and Gazan homosexuals and suspected collaborators under Hamas makes a mockery of any claim that the missions purpose is to provide relief and make life easier for the people of Gaza.

          The thing that will make the biggest impact on the occupation will be when groups like this love the Palestinians more than they want to hurt Israel.

        • seafoid says:

          King includes this hasbara nugget

          As the deputy director of the Red Cross in Gaza stated in April this year: “There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza.”

          which means his whole argument is BS

          That is the imaginary Matilde Redmattn
          link to mondoweiss.net

          Israel is trying to build up an alternative narrative around the idea that the status quoe is fine. Israel can’t do it. There are too many facts they can’t ignore.

          BTW what would GF know about what people in Europe think ?

        • stevieb says:

          “My objection to the flotilla is not that it singles Israel out, but that it delegitimizes the campaign to relieve the suffering of the Palestinians, by preferring to “expose” Israel’s hypocrisies.”

          Well than you needn ‘t worry; it categorically does not do that…..

        • Shingo says:

          My objection to the flotilla is not that it singles Israel out, but that it delegitimizes the campaign to relieve the suffering of the Palestinians, by preferring to “expose” Israel’s hypocrisies.

          Does your Zioncaine addiction prevent you from considering that both aims can be achieve simultaneously?

          Sailing towards Gaza while refusing to release a comment on the treatment of Gazan women and Gazan homosexuals and suspected collaborators under Hamas makes a mockery of any claim that the missions purpose is to provide relief and make life easier for the people of Gaza.

          Are you sugegsting that Israel treats Gazan women and Gazan homosexuals better than Hamas do? Has it occured to you that Israel killed more women than Hamas have, including the hundred or more during Cast Lead? How many homosexuals do you think were bombed to death of burned by white phsphorous?

          The thing that will make the biggest impact on the occupation will be when groups like this love the Palestinians more than they want to hurt Israel.

          No, that will make you feel more comfortable, it won’t be effective you dolt.

        • Citizen says:

          GF, spare your diversionary crocodile tears; Israel’s colonial oppression, its US tax paid F-16s dropping white phosphorus & its demolishing Palestinian home via US tax paid Caterpillar dozers, etc
          do not distinguish between Gazans by gender or sexual preference. Israel’s equal opportunity colonial victimization of all Palestinians in Gaza and the WB that is the macro issue here.

        • Shmuel says:

          My objection to the flotilla is not that it singles Israel out, but that it delegitimizes the campaign to relieve the suffering of the Palestinians, by preferring to “expose” Israel’s hypocrisies

          You have made that eminently clear, but you have also (if I am not mistaken) said something about worrying about Palestinians in Gaza but not in Lebanon, as well as something about the efficacy of this particular strategy (whatever sticks, I guess). BTW, what “campaign to relieve the suffering of the Palestinians” is being delegitimised, and how successful has it been in lifting the siege?

          Sailing towards Gaza while refusing to release a comment on the treatment of Gazan women and Gazan homosexuals and suspected collaborators under Hamas

          So we are talking about singling Israel out after all! Good to have cleared that up. There are of course any number of reasons for focusing on this particular issue, that do not imply negative rather than positive motivation on the part of the flotilla organisers, participants and supporters. Focusing on the motives of activists is always a good distraction though, even if the lack of Kantian coherence is a little weak, as arguments go.

          The thing that will make the biggest impact on the occupation will be when groups like this love the Palestinians more than they want to hurt Israel.

          A very poor paraphase of Golda’s classic “Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.” Nice of you to have extended it to non-Arab supporters of Palestinian rights though. And keep honing those mind-reading skills. They may come in handy some day.

        • Woody Tanaka says:

          “My objection to the flotilla is not that it singles Israel out, but that it delegitimizes the campaign to relieve the suffering of the Palestinians, by preferring to ‘expose’ Israel’s hypocrisies.”

          In case you missed it, the primary cause of the suffering of the Palestinians is Israel and its people. I don’t see how fighting against the Israelis (whether it is their hypocrisies, their criminality or otherwise) is delegitimizing the campaign to help Israeli’s victims.

          “Sailing towards Gaza while refusing to release a comment on the treatment of Gazan women and Gazan homosexuals and suspected collaborators under Hamas makes a mockery of any claim that the missions purpose is to provide relief and make life easier for the people of Gaza.”

          The mistake you make is that you believe that unless one attempts to fix all the problems facing the Palestinians at one time, that trying to fix the biggest problem is somehow illegitimate. This is a bs tactic akin to the one which basically says, “unless you go fix all the world’s problems first, any attempt to solve the Palestine issue is antisemitic.”

          “The thing that will make the biggest impact on the occupation will be when groups like this love the Palestinians more than they want to hurt Israel.”

          That’s a lot of nonsense and stinks like that dead pig Golda Meir. Hurting Israel IS demonstrating love for the Palestinians if it causes or may cause the Israelis to stop their oppression and crime, because it is the Israelis who are hurting the Palestinians.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          Right GF, because Gazan women and homosexuals would rather starve and forgo adequate medical resources than “suffer” an aid flotilla that doesn’t opt to condemn the government they elected while they bring food and medicine. Basically, you’re saying the flotilla is too political because it isn’t political enough!

          Tell me, GF, would you have had the same criticism of ships that carried away Jewish refugees during WWII by organizations that didn’t actively condemn the same practices by the Jewish Orthodoxy?

        • talknic says:

          GuiltyFeat June 23, 2011 at 7:52 am

          “My objection to the flotilla is … that it delegitimizes the campaign to relieve the suffering of the Palestinians, by preferring to “expose” Israel’s hypocrisies”

          Entirely. World pressure on Israel to end occupation or abide by the UN Charter Chapt XI. If the flotilla helps keep attention on the issue, it’s good for everyone in the long run.

          “Sailing towards Gaza while refusing to release a comment on the treatment of Gazan women and Gazan homosexuals and suspected collaborators under Hamas makes a mockery of any claim that the missions purpose is to provide relief and make life easier for the people of Gaza”

          You’re making a mockery of yourself if you don’t have evidence to support your theory that folk aren’t also concerned about those issues. You have, in fact, no idea what they think about those issues. It’s a cute little bit of twaddlespeil

          “The thing that will make the biggest impact on the occupation will be when groups like this love the Palestinians more than they want to hurt Israel”

          How Meiresque. The Palestinians want their rights under the laws Israel obliged itself to uphold. When it ‘hurts’ Israel to uphold the law is a totally bizarre notion.

          “Pull over driver!”
          “I can’t it hurts!”

  12. This isn’t the US talking, it is Israel from its position as occupier of the US administration. After all they have bought and paid for the services of these officials, now they are getting what they paid for. Total obeisance. If you don’t bend the knee, your position and career are at severe risk.

  13. Citizen says:

    I assume that if the US boat to Gaza was treated as the USS Liberty was, and most of the Americans on it were killed or maimed, we’d see more or less a replay of the propaganda and cover-up from 1967. “We warned them. It was an accident. Move on. Did you hear the latest on Weiner?”

  14. Citizen says:

    An American says the US will allow Israel to murder him & his fellow Americans while they are on the US freedom boat to Gaza, soon departing–and he shows you exactly how he knows this. link to t.co

  15. seafoid says:

    Israel’s insane attitude towards Gaza and the flotilla has very strong parallels with the behaviour of the supreme commander of the British Army in the First world war. He had over 300 of his own soldiers executed a la Furkan Dogan and the excuse was .”“How can we ever win if this plea is allowed?” . It is EXACTLY the same with Israel. How can the settlers win if Gaza is treated with dignity ?

    the link is subscription only but here it is anyway

    link to nybooks.com

    “In one other matter Haig has been much criticized: the execution of more than three hundred British soldiers for cowardice or desertion. Hochschild tells the harrowing story of three working-class volunteers who had come out of their trench in bewildered panic, and were court-martialed and condemned. Most death sentences were commuted, but Haig, having characteristically said that a shortage of shells was the fault of drunken workingmen (“Take and shoot two or three of them and the ‘Drink habit’ would cease”—curious words, as Hochschild remarks, from someone with a family fortune in the eponymous Scotch whisky), refused to allow a plea “for mercy owing to the intense bombardments which the accused had been subjected to.”“How can we ever win if this plea is allowed?” Haig snorted, and there was no mercy for those three. After they were shot, military policemen burned the posts to which they had been tethered to cook their breakfast, and laughed at fond letters in the dead men’s pockets from their wives, though they were silenced by one to “dear Daddy.””

  16. mymarkx says:

    Yes, Obama and Hillary will be immensely pleased if the US activists on the flotilla are killed by Israel. I suspect that many of these activists are already on Obama’s secret assassination hit list of US citizens he doesn’t like, and that Israel will be richly rewarded if they carry out his contracts.

    Since the Magna Carta was signed in the 13th Century until now, no legitimate leader has assumed the right to kill their own citizens without due process. Obama is much more barbaric than any other world leader, and the billions spent on propaganda to demonize them and absolve him should not be allowed to dominate the mass media.

    But it was when Obama renounced the Nuremberg Principles and adopted the Eichmann defense, that those who commit crimes against humanity should not be prosecuted if they were just carrying out orders, that his true Zionist/fascist colors were revealed.

    While I agree that it is better to be martyred than to continue to exist in a fascist country, I don’t expect people in the US to care. Capitalism fosters a selfish materialism that precludes things like compassion or conscience.

    I agree with Israel that the flotilla is a provocation. I’ve heard that snake handlers sometimes provoke the snakes into expending their venom by giving them objects to attack until the snakes have no venom left, when they become safe to handle. I wish we could send an unmanned flotilla for Israel to vent its murderous wrath on. If I was a billionaire I’d get a large submarine and figure out some way to surreptitiously get the activists off the boat and replace them with lifelike dummies so that when the IDF finished firing and began boarding, they’d find nothing but mannequins full of bullet holes. Then let’s see them try to say that they were being attacked and acted in self-defense.

  17. annebeck58 says:

    I am late to this party (you know), but I did want to post how I believe this warning should have read:

    The security environment in Israel and outside of Gaza, other than its border with Egypt and its seacoast, is dangerous and volatile. U.S. citizens are advised against traveling to Gaza by any means, including via sea, as we have made a decision that it is perfectly fine for Israel to procede with killing or maiming or taking you into custody for however they like. Previous attempts to enter Gaza by sea have been stopped by Israeli naval vessels and resulted in the injury, death, arrest, and deportation of U.S. citizens and we agree with it, slapping the collective face of the International community. U.S. citizens participating in any effort to reach Gaza by sea should understand that they may face arrest, prosecution, and deportation by the Government of Israel (as well as persecution by US when you do make it home, if you do make it home), as Israel is supported by what you may believe is “your” government, because they pay our salaries and we pay theirs… On May 31, 2010, nine people were killed, including one U.S. citizen, in such an attempt, so you are risking your lives, and the USA will not protect you, as Israel IS our bestest PAL. love, Hillary.